By NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports activities Author
BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — In Gee Chun is alone atop the Ladies’s PGA Championship following a sensational begin.
In reality, no participant has ever been additional forward after 18 holes at a ladies’s main.
Chun breezed to an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take a five-stroke benefit after the primary spherical at Congressional. Whereas a lot of the subject slogged via the day on the moist Blue Course, Chun birdied seven of eight holes throughout one stretch. She was seven photographs forward when she completed her spherical and ended up tying a report for the most important 18-hole lead at a significant.
Mickey Wright led this event by 5 after the primary spherical in 1961.
“I don’t know what golf course In Gee is taking part in,” defending champion Nelly Korda mentioned after ending her spherical of 71.
Chun was taking part in the identical course as everybody else — one which went via a full restoration final 12 months. There was heavy rain within the space in a single day and extra precipitation throughout play Thursday morning. That softened the course but additionally made Congressional’s size — 6,809 yards for this primary spherical — extra of an element.
No massive deal for Chun, a two-time main winner.
“The course, after quite a lot of rain, feels longer,” the 27-year-old South Korean mentioned. “On the similar time, greens had been softer. So I feel it was only a steadiness.”
Though there was loads of golf left to play, Chun’s massive lead definitely turned heads.
“I can’t cease staring on the leaderboard,” Justin Thomas tweeted. “Main by 7 midway via day 1!!!!”
Pornanong Phatlum and Hye-Jin Choi shot bogey-free rounds of 69 to chop Chun’s result in 5, however that was nonetheless a sufficiently big benefit to tie Wright’s mark. The 1961 event was one in all a report 4 victories by Wright at this occasion. Chun is making an attempt for her first.
Chun did set a significant championship report — for males or ladies — when she received the Evian Championship in 2016 at 21 below. She additionally received the U.S. Ladies’s Open the earlier 12 months.
Paula Reto and Jennifer Chang had been at 2 below. Korda and taking part in companion Brooke Henderson had been a part of a nine-player group at 1 below. One instance of how difficult the course was: Korda hit driver, hybrid and 7-wood whereas making par on the 587-yard ninth gap.
“That’s the longest par 5 I’ve ever performed,” she mentioned. “I used to be completely satisfied to play the entrance 9 even.”
Chun, who began on the again 9, birdied Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 18. After a bogey on No. 1, she rebounded with three extra birdies in a row.
Chun hit all 14 fairways and mentioned she handed the time by discussing non-golf matters with caddie Dean Herden.
“We discuss in regards to the kiwis as a result of I like to eat kiwis on the course,” she mentioned. “It’s actually powerful to discover a good kiwi from the grocery store. Fortunately, we’ve a great Korean grocery store close to right here, so I received a great gold kiwi from there.”
If Chun retains taking part in like this, she may discover it straightforward to chill out on the course, however she’ll have a proficient group of challengers chasing her. Jennifer Kupcho, who received her first main on the Chevron Championship earlier this 12 months, was 1 below. Phatlum’s spectacular spherical included an ace on the 199-yard second.
Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and world No. 1 Jin Younger Ko all shot 72, one stoke higher than U.S. Ladies’s Open champ Minjee Lee.
In reality, if not for Chun, quite a lot of gamers might really feel fairly near the lead.
“I really feel like I performed very well. The course is actually laborious,” Kupcho mentioned. “I don’t actually understand how In Gee is 8 below proper now. That’s positively an outlier.”
NOTES: Emma Talley (78) completed whereas placing with a wedge after her putter was broken through the spherical. … Lizette Salas and Cristie Kerr each shot 80.
Observe Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
Extra AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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